20 Pages

Government and Leadership

Treatises or essays in political science frequently claim to offer universal knowledge, transcending any particular society, and are as frequently perceived by their readers as primarily contributions to pressing political problems of the moment. James Mill's Essay on Government has long been looked at in both ways. It is less usual, however, to view a treatise on political science as also being based on the person of the author, on the way his pressing problems and needs shape the way he conceives and perceives the political world. One important notion advanced by James Mill in his Essay on Government involves his eulogy of the middle class, and his faith that the lower class would follow its lead. The middle class, he tells us, is universally described "as both the wisest and the most virtuous part of the community." They are numerous and "form a large proportion of the whole body of the people".